By Pres House resident Megan Berg. Megan is a participant in the Scholars Program, and a talented baker.
When I signed a lease with Pres House Apartments around Thanksgiving of my freshman year in college, I thought I was just acquiring a place to live. But upon moving in last August, I learned my apartment came with much more than a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom; it came with a community, a home.
When I initially joined the Scholars Program, I thought it was too good to be true. I would receive a rent scholarship just for hanging out with other residents once a month? Now, almost being done with the school year, I still think the program is too good to be true! However, I now understand the true reason for the program. I have made many new friends in Pres House Apartments, which has expanded my circle beyond just my roommates. It is an amazing feeling to be able to walk through my building, or attend Afternoon Tea, and know the people around me.
Additionally, being in Scholars has expanded my experiences. I learned how to fold dumplings and do Chinese calligraphy for the Lunar New Year. I tried self-reflection exercises to discern my emotions and values. I walked through the Chazen Museum for the first time in my life, despite living less than 100 feet from it. I would not have done these things without the support of the Pres House community.
While Pres House has offered me new friends and experiences, it has also built on the interests I have cherished since I was young. When I was a child, I first learned to bake with my parents. It was an activity they learned from their parents, and then passed the skills on to me. We would all be in the kitchen together and even though it probably took them twice as long to bake with me as it did alone, my parents still did it with me. As I grew up, so did my love for baking, and now that I am away from home at college, I bake regularly by myself. Pres House has supported my love of baking by giving me the opportunity to use my talents for service. About twice a month, I bake desserts for the Apartments’ Afternoon Tea, like brownie bites, lemon drop cakes, and snickerdoodle cookies. I also led the Scholars group in holiday-themed baking for our December event. This service lets me develop my skills and allows me to share my baked goods with people who enjoy them. It is a fantastic feeling to be able to use the expertise my parents taught me for the enrichment of the community.
If I had chosen to live in a different building, I would never have been afforded the opportunities I have now. The community I have encountered has been able to support me in new and old endeavors. Using the words of Cecelia Ahern, “Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.” Pres House takes an apartment building and makes it so much more by filling it with amazing people and supporting its residents. In doing that, it becomes a home.